Journey to the Solar Eclipse

Before we left Eugene this morning at seven, the sun was already putting on a show. The only thing that forest fires are good for are sunsets and sunrises. I couldn’t quite capture what I was seeing

We left the house shortly after seven not knowing traffic conditions.

Traffic along Chambers Street caused a slight concern, but that traffic turned out to be basic Monday morning commute as once we turned off, we no longer were looking at brake lights and cars on our bumper. We knew enough to stay off of I-5 and took back roads. Ninety-Nine.

Our small-towns route was rather routine. I had my camera out and was snapping pictures left and right. I had to do something, right?  I don’t know what that space-age thing is, though it’s probably crop-oriented.

Sometimes I just stuck my camera out and snapped without looking. Okay, so maybe that wasn’t shot. Until now I hadn’t the slightest idea what pictures I took.

As I said, I took pictures of all sorts of things. Large brick round chimney?

Farm land shapes.

People were getting ready for the eclipse and were being very patient about it. It might have been 7:30 when we started passing people along the side of the road. Waiting for 10:17 a.m.

.Obviously I don’t go on enough road trips, though some of you are thinking that I shouldn’t go on any more or at least if I do I should leave my camera at home.

By this point, I think we had made it all the way to Junction City. I’m not sure as I wasn’t really paying attention.

Nine miles to go. Still no traffic.

Why not watch the eclipse from a gazebo in the middle of nowhere?

Meanwhile, my phone started going off with warnings. Don’t park hot vehicles on the side of the road due to fire danger. These folks didn’t get the message or didn’t think it applied to them. Most people we passed, looked up from their books and newspapers and gave a small-town wave.

We got to Linn Benton Community College around eight. Lots of people milling about. Most into their phones.

This guy came prepared. Not only was he decked out in a nice eclipse shirt, something that never occurred to me to get, but he has special binoculars that allowed him to look at the sun. I think he said that he only paid twenty bucks for them. Twenty dollars for two hours of use.

Virginie, aka Gini, was one of the first people I met. And here I thought I would be bored waiting for two hours. In this picture, she was probably telling me about her eighty-one mile hike along the Pacific Coast Trail, just a partial leg of the PCT hikes she’s been on. I don’t think I could hike a mile at my current out of shape state; she and her husband John had driven up from California. Between the people I talked to and the license plates, it seemed as Oregonians were outnumbered at least 3:1.

Yes, next time I’ll have to think about a T-shirt…

This family showed some ingenuity with their homemade reflecting unit. Cardboard and duct tape go a long way.

I don’t remember where Sylvia got our glasses. Bi-Mart? I was happy they didn’t come from Dutch Bros. Coffee as they recalled their glasses. Some people got the recall notice in advance, but others didn’t find out until today. To make it up to their customers, Dutch Brothers were offering free coffee. I wanted to know if they would offer to pay for people’s seeing eye dogs after people went blind. I wonder how many people had bad glasses or didn’t heed the advice of people and looked at the sun. According to Time, it won’t be until tomorrow that anyone will know if the eclipse ruined their vision:

“There are no immediate symptoms associated with damage to the retina, which doesn’t have any pain receptors, ophthalmologists say. Symptoms begin occurring 12 hours after viewing the eclipse, when people wake up in the morning and notice their vision has been altered, TIME previously reported.”

I learned that with just a little bit more planning, I could have spent twenty dollars on better glasses. There was a group next to us, a couple with their daughter, niece, and someone else, that had really nice solid glasses that they had gotten on Amazon. I have a vague recollection that Amazon may have recalled these and shipped them new pairs, but their glasses came with something for their cameras. Also came with a nifty book. It never occurred to me to use our flimsy glasses to cover my camera. My attempt with my cell phone, which I’m getting tired of so killing it wouldn’t necessarily be bad, was futile. I figured I could just get photos from the internet, especially really cool ones from NASA. Now that’s a really cool picture. So much better than I could have done. I have seen some amazing photos on the internet. The Photographers at The Register-Guard, Eugene’s newspaper, did an amazing job. They had all hands on deck for this spectacular phenomenon.

But not everyone was into caught up in the celestial craze. Not far from us was a family. Dad kept asking young teenage daughter to put her glasses on and look. It took, what seemed to her, an eternity for the sun to get blocked out. She may have looked when it looked like a small bite had been taken out, but after two or three times of dad telling her about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she told him that she was bored and to leave her alone so she could listen to her music. A total eclipse of the heart.

2 Comments

  1. And did you see where they caught our illustrious president looking at the eclipse without his glasses on? Smart, huh? Wonder which day he will wake up with diminished vision… hope he retires on that day!!!
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